Overparenting. The Most Common Parenting Mistake.



Overparenting comes natural to many parents but here’s how to keep it in check.

It’s essential to your child’s development to trust your child and to allow him to fail and learn from his mistakes.

Do you remember that moment as a kid that you decided it was time to take off one training wheel? How about the other when you were learning to ride a bike? That’s what has to happen sooner rather than later if you want to protect your child from overparenting. Without easing off, the experiences necessary to your child’s development will be inadvertently stunted. Furthermore, your child’s ability to cope with future problems and their capacity to bounce back from drawbacks will also be affected.

This perspective will sound counterintuitive to many parents. After all, the basic instinct of any parent is to protect their child from all of the world’s many dangers. Now while your heart is in the right place, the unintentional consequences of overparenting can last a lifetime and experts agree. Among child experts, it’s widely agreed that by parents trying so earnestly to enable their children, they disable them by not allowing them to trip, stumble, fall and pick themselves back up.


What is Overparenting?

You may have heard the terms snowplowing, helicoptering and hothouse parenting, These terms refer to various forms of overparenting. In general, overparenting is defined as a day-to-day, excessive involvement in the life of one’s child or children. The noble intention and hopes of  protecting them from difficulty or help them succeed is the driving force. It’s a disproportionate or even overzealous style of parenting where a parent might overly intervene at school, get involved in their child’s friends and social life issues, pressure their kids with their expectations or get in the way of every obstacle facing their child; before the child has the opportunity to confront it on his/her own. Overparenting doesn’t allow children to make mistakes they can learn from. This is usually due to the parent’s view that failure or facing problems alone may be harmful or dangerous.


How does overparenting affect children?

The greatest disadvantage to children is that they won’t learn what they’re capable of. They won’t be able to sort things out on their own because every time something doesn’t work right, look right, breaks or isn’t done how mommy or daddy wants it; they come in and make it all better. The micro-management style of these parents is debilitating simply because every event is one less opportunity for that child to enjoy the thrill of achievement. Likewise, the enriching experience that comes with failing and coping with that fact of life.  As well as learning how to do things differently for the next time. Over time, what parents create is a child that is less resourceful, less resilient and less confident on their own. Allowing your child to error teaches them that life won’t always be a bed of roses and that there is life after mistakes.


Why it’s has become more prevalent

More than 30 years ago, the philosophy was that our children need to learn on their own and we provide a more hands-free approach to parenting. This style of parenting is commonly known as free-range parenting. Free-range parenting is a concept of raising children in the spirit of encouraging. Children are allowed to function independently, respective to their age, and with reasonable acceptance of personal risks. Today the world has become substantially smaller with all the access to information in the palm of our hands. This access can stir feelings of paranoia and makes it difficult to stick to the free-range parenting style. In cases like this, fact checking is important. Dig a bit deeper into what you’re discovering, watching or hearing. Don’t jump to conclusions or jump on the bandwagon. Once you’ve looked into the facts, manage your feels and emotions to take action that is appropriate for you and your child long term.


How parents can find the proper balance

Overcoming overparenting is about confidence and trust. Parents have to exude confidence in themselves and in their kids. The parent’s confidence transcends into children and inspires them to move assuredly from obstacle to obstacle. Lead your child by example and inspire. Just like you can teach your kid’s fear, you can teach your kids a bit of healthy audacity to move past problems. Confidence is the strength that sets the foundation of child enablement.

Once you can perform with confidence, you need to continue to trust yourself. Parents must put their trust in the decisions they’ve made with regard to their child. The school they’ve selected for, it’s educators, it’s all part of the process. Above all, parents must be able to trust their children to meet their age-appropriate challenges so they can also become confident, proficient learners and better self-thinkers.

Remember to be okay with your child failing. As a parent, it’s okay that you don’t take responsibility for everything in your child’s life. Empathize, but don’t get involved on every occasion and refrain from managing your child’s happiness at all times. Lastly, learn to work together with your child but don’t jump in every time things start to get difficult. Think of the adage, “Less is more” and in the end, like everything in life, it’s an ongoing learning process that will become a grand accomplishment for you and your child.



Since 1998 Coconut Grove Montessori has been among the most esteemed and highly reviewed Toddler, Preschool and Elementary Montessori schools in Miami-Dade. Our success is credited to closely following the principles of Maria Montessori’s approach as well as our teachers who are committed to the Montessori philosophy. We have two campuses; our Toddler Coconut Grove Montessori School on Bird Avenue and our Preschool & Elementary Coconut Grove Montessori on 27th Avenue. Contact us to schedule a tour of both our Montessori Campuses today.

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